Russia makes about $300 billion in gas and oil exports each year. For a tiny tenth of a billion dollars it fed western activists and successfully stopped fracking development in the UK (and some parts of Australia apparently). It’s what you call a stupendous investment.
Matt Ridley lays out just how game changing the discovery of shale fracking could have been for the UK, and how easily the politicians and system was exploited and fell over. …
It wouldn’t have worked if the West had good media, and if schools taught students how to spot con artists, witchcraft, and fake reasoning.
When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. …
But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. …
The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. …
The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”.
The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.
No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.
As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers.
A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.
Or buy it from Russia.
The left complain about a tiny amount of election interference in the US in 2016, that was in any case aimed at the left as much as the right. Shheeesh. The Russians interfered in Western politics big time from the 1940s through the 1980s, for the left. Remember McCarthy in the 1950s?
And the Russian interference continues ’til today, predominately for the green movement. Where would the Greens be without Russian help? You think a bunch of tree huggers and bird watchers have the political skills or motivation to build and finance a world wide movement that bosses governments around? Not bloody likely.
Russia’s economy is very dependent on energy exports and the price of oil. Nowadays their interference is mostly about Russia’s income.